OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

 

May 12, 2005

Agenda

KALLEWARD GROUP (CONSUMERS CREDIT UNION) - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE - 5018 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-280-060)

KALLEWARD GROUP (CONSUMERS CREDIT UNION) - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE - 6699 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-330-012)

PRIVATE STREETS - WORK ITEM

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, May 12, 2005, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Terry Schley, Acting Chairman
Deborah L. Everett
Kathleen Garland-Rike
Mike Smith
Fred Gould
Lee Larson

MEMBERS ABSENT: James Turcott

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; James W. Porter, Township Attorney; and two other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.

AGENDA

The Acting Chairman said the first item of business was the approval of the Agenda. Mr. Larson made a motion to approve the Agenda as submitted, and Mr. Smith seconded the motion. The Acting Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

MINUTES

The Chairman said that the next item was the minutes of April 28, 2005. Ms. Garland-Rike asked that the following two corrections be made:

On page 9, second full paragraph from the top, second sentence should read as follows: "Ms. Garland-Rike said she had some difficulty reading the this topographical map, as it was laid out, but wanted to know whether the ponds were located in naturally low-lying areas."

On page 11, bottom paragraph, first sentence should read as follows: "Mr. Tom Kilborne introduced himself to the Planning Commission, and he said he had only been moved to Twelve Oaks about two weeks ago when he heard about the proposed development."

Ms. Garland-Rike made a motion to approve the minutes as corrected. The motion was seconded by Mr. Larson. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

KALLEWARD GROUP (CONSUMERS CREDIT UNION) - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE - 5018 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-280-060)

The Acting Chairman indicated that the next item on the Agenda was consideration of a special exception use by the Kalleward Group (Consumers Credit Union) for a proposed modification to an existing drive-through and ATM lanes at 5018 West Main Street, Parcel No. 3905-13-280-060. The Acting Chairman asked to hear from the Planning Department. Ms. Stefforia presented her report dated May 12, 2005, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia explained to the Commission that the property had been occupied by a bank since 1973 and was under the current management of Consumers Credit Union since 1999. She said the applicant was seeking to modify the drive-through service lanes, which would involve adding another teller lane and a second ATM lane. She stated, that in order to do this and to alleviate congestion problems near the existing teller lanes, they would have to widen the approach by cutting back the pavement immediately adjacent to the building. Ms. Stefforia then proceeded to take the Commission through the special exception provisions of Section 60 as set forth in her report. The Acting Chairman asked if there were any questions of Ms. Stefforia.

Ms. Everett asked if the proposed change would trigger a sidewalk requirement. Ms. Stefforia said that the Planning Department would review that issue administratively, and she thought it would most likely be handled through the special assessment district that the Planning Department was asked to establish for the given area.

The Acting Chairman asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Michael Mair introduced himself on behalf of the Kalleward Group. He said he thought the Planning Department had done a thorough analysis in presenting their proposal, and he asked the Planning Commission members if they had any questions. He said he thought that the request was self-explanatory and added that they were making the changes because they are currently serving over 12,000 customers per month through their drive-through facilities.

The Acting Chairman asked if there were any questions of Mr. Mair. Hearing none, he asked for comments from the public. After hearing none, he closed the public portion of the meeting and called for Commission deliberations.

Mr. Smith made a motion to approve the special exception use permit as presented for the reasons set forth in the Planning Department Staff's report. The motion was seconded by Mr. Gould. The Acting Chairman called for further discussion, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

KALLEWARD GROUP (CONSUMERS CREDIT UNION) - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE - 6699 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-330-012)

The Acting Chairman said the next item for consideration was the Kalleward Groups' application for a special exception use and site plan review for a proposed new credit union with drive-through services at 6699 West Main Street, Parcel No. 3905-14-330-012. The Acting Chairman asked for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Stefforia presented her report to the Planning Commission dated May 12, 2005, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia told the Commission that the applicant was proposing to construct a 3,100 square foot Consumers Credit Union with drive-through service and ATM lanes. She said the subject property is 1.2 acres in size, located at the southeast corner of West Main and 9th Street. Ms. Stefforia then explained the existing cross-access easements, as well as the proposed access off the service drives, as the site plan shows no direct access to either 9th Street or West Main Street.

Ms. Stefforia then proceeded to take the Commission through Section 82 of the Township Zoning Ordinance involving site plan review. Ms. Stefforia then took the Commission through the special exception use criteria as set forth in Section 60 of the Zoning Ordinance.

The Acting Chairman asked if there were any questions of the Planning. The Acting Chairman began by asking if the Staff had a recommendation regarding the bike path and/or proposed sidewalk. Ms. Stefforia said she would be interested in hearing the Planning Commissioners' comments on that issue. Ms. Everett pointed out that whatever they did, they would certainly want to make sure that it allowed for connection with the bike path that is being put in at Seelye's development further to the south along 9th Street. The Acting Chairman asked if they were putting in a bike path. Ms. Stefforia indicated that they were, but that it was not yet laid out and could be structured in such a way as to connect to whatever non-motorized pathway the Commission wanted to see to the north.

The Acting Chairman asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Mair told the Commission that he thought their proposed plan made the most of the property and thought it would fit in quite nicely due to the ingress egress/cross-access agreements. He said he believed that they had complied with all of the provisions of the Township Zoning Ordinance. He added that they were open to suggestions with regard to the bike path and the sidewalk and that they would do whatever the Township wanted in that regard.

The Acting Chairman asked if there were any questions. Ms. Garland-Rike asked why Consumers Credit Union was proposing 30 parking spaces when 17 spaces are required. She said she thought that their parking requirements were quite generous and wondered why they needed so many spaces. Mr. Mair said he thought it had to do with the Credit Union's projections of activity, as well as wanting to be user-friendly to all of their clientele.

The Acting Chairman asked if there was any public comment. Hearing none, he called for Planning Commissioner deliberation. Ms. Garland-Rike said she was thinking that the proposal along 9th Street was for a bike path. However, she wondered aloud, due to the widening at the intersection, whether or not a sidewalk would be safer. Ms. Stefforia pointed out that there would be curbs along the road. Mr. Larson said he thought there should be some separation for safety, as well as snow removal. The Acting Chairman said perhaps a sidewalk in this particular area would be safer. Mr. Larson expressed a concern about the need for the bike path for continuity. He said, while he thought that separation from the road right-of-way was necessary, he would like to encourage a bike path to be maintained.

The Acting Chairman asked how far from the road the bike path or sidewalk should be located, and he suggested perhaps seven feet. Ms. Stefforia said, if they went that far off the road, the only way they could develop the sidewalk or bike path would be within the greenspace currently required for the property. Ms. Stefforia asked if the Commission could require that as part of the site plan approval. Attorney Porter indicated that they could. The applicant said that they would agree to put it within the green space. Ms. Stefforia then inquired whether an easement for the sidewalk or bike path should be required. Attorney Porter said that would be the most appropriate method. Ms. Stefforia suggested that a reduction in the separation distance to the road would allow the applicant to maintain the bike path within the road right-of-way. The Acting Chairman asked if there was agreement by the Commission to reduce the separation from seven feet to five feet in order to construct the sidewalk. It was the consensus of the Commission that a five foot separation would be sufficient.

The Acting Chairman asked if there was any other items to discuss. Ms. Stefforia said, after thinking about it for a few minutes, that perhaps it would be better to maintain it as a bike path so that people would not leave the bike path and enter the road right-of-way. A brief discussion ensued regarding the appropriateness of riding a bicycle on a sidewalk. Attorney Porter was not able to advise the Commission as to whether the State law prohibited riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, and thought perhaps many communities prohibited that on a local basis rather than through State law. The Acting Chairman said there could be confusion having the bike path, given that such bike paths on occasion are mistaken for driveways.

Ms. Garland-Rike asked if they could provide a separate area within the pedestrian pathway for bikes. Ms. Everett said she thought that people tend to use sidewalks or bike paths for both walking, as well as biking.

Ms. Garland-Rike said she thought it was very important that they provide for pedestrian traffic in this area, given the growing commercialization at 9th Street and West Main. She pointed out that there was a bus stop at Meijer and that many people might walk from there to the Credit Union in order to do their banking. Ms. Everett said she thought perhaps a bike path would be the most useful, since it accommodates all types of pedestrian, as well as bicycle traffic. Ms. Stefforia suggested perhaps putting up a sign to avoid any confusion as to the use of the bike path by motor vehicles.

The Acting Chairman again surveyed the Commission and said he thought it was the consensus of the Commission to put in an eight-foot bike path. A discussion then ensued regarding location of the bike path in relationship to the road right-of-way and the property line of the applicant. After reviewing all of the alternatives, it was the consensus of the Planning Commission that a four-foot setback would be sufficient from the road right-of-way, leaving an eight-foot bike path and maintaining the bike path, which would allow the bike path to remain within the road right-of-way.

The Chairman asked if there were other items for discussion. Mr. Larson asked about the lights on the proposed plan. Mr. Mair said he thought they had submitted a light plan with the proposed site plan. Ms. Stefforia said that they had provided the outdoor light plans, but they did not have the detail for the building-mounted fixtures. Mr. Mair said that they would be happy to provide them to the Planning Department. The Acting Chairman said he thought the Commission could leave that to Staff review. Mr. Larson commented that he would like to see them minimize lighting, if at all possible. Mr. Mair said that any of the lights that they use would be shielded in compliance with the Township Ordinance.

Mr. Larson asked if there was adequate stacking for the drive-through. Mr. Mair said that they have the ability to stack four cars in each of the respective lanes. Ms. Stefforia said she typically leaves a recommendation regarding stacking up to the applicant since they know their individual business needs.

The Acting Chairman asked if Staff was comfortable with what they were proposing. Ms. Stefforia said yes; with the number of lanes and tellers available, there appeared to be adequate area for projected traffic. If there were any problems, she said it would likely cause further review of their approved special use and site plan. Attorney Porter indicated that would be appropriate if congestion got to be a problem, since it was a special use. The Acting Chairman also noted that it would likely be an issue that would be addressed by a number of service personnel that deal with any delays.

The Acting Chairman said it was necessary that the Commission take two actions, the first to consider the special exception use and the other to approve the site plan. Ms. Garland-Rike made a motion to approve the special exception use permit for the reasons set forth in the Planning Department's Staff report. She said that approval was subject to the condition that the applicant not impede traffic along 9th Street. Ms. Everett seconded the motion, and the Acting Chairman called for further discussion. Hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The Acting Chairman said the next item was consideration of the site plan. Ms. Everett made a motion to approve the site plan, subject to the following conditions:

(1) Provision for non-motorized facilities along West Main Street, eight feet in width, subject to review and approval by the Michigan Department of Transportation. In addition, a provision for non-motorized facilities along 9th Street, eight feet in width, with a four-foot separation from the road.

(2) All lighting shall comply with Section 78.700. Outside building-mounted fixture locations and details, if any, shall be submitted to the Township for review and approval.

(3) All signs shall comply with Section 76.000 and are subject to the sign-permitting process.

(4) Landscaping in accordance with Section 75 shall be provided except for a deviation to allow one of the required parking lot islands to have an understory tree rather than a canopy tree to accommodate a 30-foot flag pole in the island.

(5) Landscaping shall be installed before a Certificate of Occupancy will be granted or a Performance Guarantee, consistent with the provisions of Section 82.950, must be provided.

(6) Site plan approval shall be subject to the applicant satisfying Fire Department requirements pursuant to the adopted codes.

(7) Site engineering and stormwater management are subject to review and a finding by the Township Engineer that they are adequate.

(8) An Earth Change Permit must be obtained from the Drain Commissioner.

(9) The Hazardous Substance Reporting form and the Environmental Permits Checklist shall be completed and submitted to the Township.

PRIVATE STREETS - WORK ITEM

The Acting Chairman said that the next item on the Agenda was the consideration of Draft #2 of the proposed amendment to allow private streets in non-residential site condominium developments. The Acting Chairman called for the Planning Department's report. Ms. Stefforia presented her report dated May 5, 2005, to the Planning Commission, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia said she thought it would be best to go through each section and address questions as they arose. The Acting Chairman said he had a concern, which he believed he had raised previously, regarding the inspection provided for under Section 60.830 D. The Acting Chairman explained that the requirement that the construction has been inspected and complies with the approved plan requires a higher standard of review, and therefore, in turn, a higher degree of liability not often covered under an engineer's liability coverage. He said a normal errors and omissions policy covers a standard of review for observation that the project has been observed and generally found to be in compliance. Staff indicated that they understood and thought they could make the appropriate corrections. Mr. Larson said that the Township certainly wanted to avoid the liability, and he thought, if the project was inspected and observed to be generally in compliance, that would be sufficient for review.

Ms. Stefforia then took the Commission through the provisions of Sections 60.840 and 60.870.

Ms. Stefforia pointed out that there were other amendments including frontage and setback requirements, as well as landscaping requirements. Ms. Stefforia then asked if the Commission thought the Type A landscaping was appropriate.

A discussion ensued with regard to the road right-of-way and the appropriate width that should be required as part of the private road development. After a lengthy discussion at which the pros and cons were considered for the road right-of-way width, it was the consensus of the Commission to stay at 66 feet, but allow applicants to request a deviation pursuant to subsection 60.860. By providing for the modification, it would give the Commission the ability to consider the particular parcel, the needs of the applicant and other features such as topography and continuity in determining whether a right-of-way width reduction is warranted.

The Acting Chairman asked if there were any other comments. Mr. Larson asked if the landscaping was adequate. Ms. Stefforia pointed out that would be the landscaping required along the road. She said all other sides of the proposed development would depend on their particular zoning and would have to meet those individual landscaping requirements. The Acting Chairman said he would like to see the applicants come up with a more natural type of drainage system, and he expressed a concern that, if additional landscaping was required, he did not want to see the road right-of-way burdened with additional plantings. Mr. Larson said he agreed and would like to encourage developers to create a more natural road right-of-way than is typically required by the Road Commission. Ms. Everett concurred, saying that she thought the Township could be more flexible with regard to private road than the Road Commission.

The Acting Chairman asked if they could have the Type A landscaping but allow for a deviation or modification if requested by the applicant. Ms. Bugge commented that was a possibility, or it would be possible to actually increase the onsite landscaping required and actually diminish or do away with the landscaping requirements within the road right-of-way itself. Mr. Larson raised the question that, if there was no design requirements, how could they modify it or deviate from it in the future. He said perhaps having a starting point of the Type A landscaping would provide a standardized starting point to which they could then modify if presented with an alternative design by the developer. The Acting Chairman said that perhaps they needed to leave the language as it was and allow some private roads to develop and review this issue as it is put in place to determine whether the Ordinance needed further refinement. He said in so doing he thought that the Planning Commission needed to be sensitive to the goals of the Ordinance and make sure that, as they reviewed the private roads in the development, they focused on the issues which had been raised by various members of the Planning Commission.

Mr. Larson said that he liked the preliminary review aspects of the Private Road Ordinance. He said they would not be looking at the site itself, but looking at the private road, and therefore, he said he thought it would be difficult to determine how any on-site improvements would impact the road right-of-way itself. Ms. Bugge said that is why she wants to see Type C landscaping on the individual sites.

Charlie Hill said he is concerned about the Planning Commission requiring too much greenspace because he thought it would actually detract from a developer's ability to be innovative and creative in his design. He said, if they had Type A landscaping on the site and the road, it would still provide for a 20-foot landscaping buffer to the road.

Mr. Larson said he thought the Planning Commission was attempting to allow a greater degree of flexibility and hopefully a developer would consider that in his overall design, even if the property was fully utilized. The Acting Chairman said he understood the concerns expressed, but thought that the Commission should be open to a well designed plan which could possibly reduce the road right-of-way itself, as well as the landscaping if it was properly laid out. Ms. Everett said that she agreed, and if there was a unique or different design that could meet the goals, spirit and intent of the Ordinance, she said she would be open to considering such a proposal.

Staff asked if the proposed Ordinance had met the objectives of the Commission. Mr. Larson said he thought it mirrored what he had in mind when they discussed the issue. A brief discussion ensued again as to what the landscape requirements should be within the private road right-of-way. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Acting Chairman said that there appeared to be a consensus that the landscape requirements be set at a 15-foot green strip within the sites with the provision that a developer could ask for a deviation under subsection 60.860 with an appropriately laid out plan.

The Acting Chairman asked if there were other areas of concern. Hearing none, he asked that the matter be set for public hearing. Mr. Larson made a motion to set the public hearing on this matter for June 9, 2005. The motion was seconded by Mr. Smith. The Acting Chairman called for further discussion, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Other Business

Ms. Stefforia asked if the Planning Commission wanted to reconsider its policy of taking public comment on motions. Attorney Porter explained that the Planning Commission did not have to take public comment after the public comment period had closed. Several Commissioners commented that they thought it was important to take the public comments into account after the motion was on the table. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission not to change its policy with respect to public comments on motions.

Planning Commissioner Comments

There were no Planning Commissioner comments.

Adjournment

There being no further business, the meeting at approximately 8:50 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
PLANNING COMMISSION


By:
Kathleen Garland-Rike, Secretary
Minutes prepared:
May 19, 2005

Minutes approved:
, 2005